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Davidson Center

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Highlights of the Davidson Center


The newly constructed Ethan and Marla Davidson Exhibition and Virtual Reconstruction Center is situated at the entrance to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, one of the largest, most significant archaeological sites in the country. It is some 100 meters south of the Temple Mount complex, in the recently excavated and restored underground storage complex belonging to a seventh century CE Umayyad Palace.

The new center offers the visitor an in-depth archaeological and historical introduction to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park by means of an exhibition of archaeological objects, augmented by visual, textual and audio information. One of the highlights of this modern facility is a real-time virtual reality reconstruction of the Herodian Temple Mount as it stood prior to its destruction by Roman troops in the year 70 CE. Real-time technology allows users to interact with the computer environment, enjoying freedom of movement as in the physical world.

The most technologically advanced computer graphics, sound and architecture currently available in the visual computing industry are employed in the Davidson Center.

The center uses cutting-edge visualization tools, including a powerful Silicon Graphics Onyx2 InfiniteReality3 computer, a high-resolution display and integration technology. This provides audiences with breathtaking three-dimensional images that are at the same time scientifically accurate.



The Architecture of the Davidson Center


The Davidson Center is located within the precincts of an Umayyad-period palace excavated in the area of the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, across from the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount. This palace is one of four that were erected at the site by the Umayyad khalifs and served as administration centers as well as for dwelling. IAA archaeologists excavated the palaces down to their original floor level, discovering five storerooms below ground level. Four of these were chosen as the location of the Davidson Center.


The Concept of this project was to preserve and enhance the remains of the ancient structure in a way that would set it apart from the modern construction. Innovative technology enabled the use of light materials, such as wood, glass and steel, contrasting the massiveness of the ancient stone walls. The descending ramps are constructed of steel and wood, large areas are walled with glass and steel roofs hover above the ancient walls.


The Challenge set before the architects was to convert these elongated, roofless, rectangular spaces, each approximately 5 x 20 m and 7 m deep, into a functional building, preserving ancient elements while providing comfortable access to the public. Another objective was to keep the level of the building's roofs at the same level as that of the palace floors, in order to maintain a low silhouette and minimal interference with the layout of the Archaeological Park. Indeed, most of the building is located below ground level.

On entering the building, just before descending the first ramp, a final glimpse of the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount is offered through an oculus. This oculus, built of steel and glass, is a unique architectural element, marking upon the surface the existence of a 21st century building.

A system of ramps affords easy access down to the floor level of the storerooms. This mode of gradual descent reflects the descendence in time, enhanced by the alternating stone layers of ancient walls housing the exhibitions.




Davidson Exhibition and Virtual Reconstruction Center Address:


Temple Mount Excavations, near the Dung Gate


Davidson Exhibition and Virtual Reconstruction Center Visiting Hours:


Sunday to Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM,
Friday 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Virtual Reconstruction Model (booking in advance):
Sunday to Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
The area is closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.

Entrance fees:

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